Alleged New Zealand mosque attacker’s Turkey trips not merely touristic - justice minister

Turkey's Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül on Monday said that suspected New Zealand mosque attacker’s 2016 visits to Turkey were about more than tourism, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

“It is obvious that visit of the person, who perpetrated the incident in New Zealand, to Turkey is beyond a touristic visit,” Gül said.

Brenton Harrison Tarrant, who is accused of gunning down 50 Muslim worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, visited Turkey twice in 2016, according to Turkish officials. Authorities said they were evaluating the possibility that he may have come to the country to carry out an attack or suicide operation.

Tarrant carved several words and names on his gun that have anti-Turkish connotations related to figures fought against Ottomans in Balkans. He also used harsh words in his manifesto, posted online shortly before the attack, against Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.